Evan Smith

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Evan Smith is the CEO and editor in chief of the Texas Tribune. Previously he spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down in August 2009 as the magazine’s president and editor in chief. He previously served as editor for more than eight years—only the third person to hold that title. On his watch, Texas Monthly was nominated for 16 National Magazine Awards, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and twice was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. For eight years, he hosted the Lone Star Emmy Award-winning weekly interview program Texas Monthly Talks, which aired on PBS stations statewide. He currently hosts Overheard With Evan Smith, airing on PBS stations nationally. A New York native, he has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Hamilton College and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Articles by Evan Smith

The Walking Deadline

Jan 23, 2013 By Evan Smith

For decades, the state’s big urban newspapers helped bind together the inhabitants of our major cities. Now those papers are threatened by a rapidly evolving (some might say collapsing) business model. Is there hope for daily journalism in Texas?

Rick Perry

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“We’ve got roads to build and agencies to fix and health care to be dispensed and cancers to cure. And that’s what I’m focusing on.”

Dean Fearing

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“Here’s the thing: I was born and raised in eastern Kentucky. I wasn’t born in downtown Paris. What do I love? I love Southern food. I love soul food. I love barbecue. I learned about food in dives. ”

John O’Quinn Objects

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“When a corporation does something that results in the death of people, what prison do you put them in?” asks the plantiffs lawyer Texas business loves to hate, and he’s just getting warmed up.

Bill Paxton

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“The only way you hit that next level in terms of film persona is to let go and accept the fact that, for better or worse, you’re all you’ve got . . . The camera’s not as concerned with what you are can do as who you are.”

Lance Armstrong

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“There are some places where it wouldn’t matter if Pope Benedict XVI was winning the Tour. They would kill him. They would say he cheats, he steals, he has sex with little boys.”

Barry Corbin

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

Barry Corbin Growing up in Lubbock, I didn’t want to be a real cowboy, because I knew a bunch of them and they didn’t get paid anything and they were hurt all the time. But I wanted to play one in the movies. My favorite early on was Bill Elliott,…

Rick Riordan

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“You have to have action, you have to have humor, and you have to have emotional situations. And you have no time to waste. You have to get it all in there economically.”

Dan Bartlett

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“We were wrong about the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. That’s far different from saying that we purposely manipulated or intentionally lied to the American people.”

Jody Conradt

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“Kids used to be so excited just to have an opportunity to play. Now I see more of a mentality of entitlement: ‘I’m a tremendous athlete, so you owe me this.”

Jerry Jones

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“I don’t like confrontation, although it’s alleged that I do. But I learned playing football that confrontation is necessary. You’d better get another sport if you don’t acknowledge and accept and willfully go after confrontation.”

Ray Benson

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“I’m a personality and a singer—that’s how I make my living—but I’m always a guitar player.”

Tony Garza

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

“As Texas moves toward majority Hispanic status, the Republicans are going to have to do less shouting, less shorthand, and less sloganeering and court the Latino community in a way that’s relevant to Latino individuals—whether on education, taxes, or job creation.”

How They Do It

Jan 20, 2013 By Evan Smith

How Jim Wright schoozes, George Foreman bruises, ZZ Top trims, and Janet Evans swims, plus the straight skinny on everything else from nearly fifty other Texas celebrities.

What I’ve Learned

Sep 30, 2009 By Evan Smith

Nine years as editor of this magazine taught me a few things, like failure is always an option, the writers are usually right, and whatever you do, stay far, far away from postcoital astronauts.

Tanya Tucker

Aug 31, 2009 By Evan Smith

“I don’t let people run over me. From the very beginning, I’ve never changed my ideas about what music should be.”

C. Andrew Doyle

Jul 31, 2009 By Evan Smith

“The complexities of the world are just now being tippy-toed into by churches, and that keeps us out of a place where people can find us, where they’re building community. It’s not that we’re locked out; it’s that we can’t find the door.”

Julián Castro

Jun 30, 2009 By Evan Smith

“The great cities of the world are not defined by one or two ethnicities, religions, or backgrounds. It must be that way for San Antonio as well.”

And That’s The Way It Is

Jun 30, 2009 By Evan Smith

Twice I had the honor—that’s what it was—of interviewing Walter Cronkite. The first time was in September 2003, in the restaurant at the Regency Hotel, in New York, where Mr. Cronkite met me for breakfast and an extended talk about the state of journalism. He was clearly hobbled by various…

Cecil Cooper

May 31, 2009 By Evan Smith

“People are going to hit, or they’re not going to hit. Some guys are going to have a better season than they had before, and some aren’t. There’s not a whole lot I can do except put the right players in the right positions and expect them to perform.”


Feb 1, 2009 By Evan Smith

NAME: Gaylord Armstrong | AGE: 69 | HOMETOWN: Austin | QUALIFICATIONS: Senior partner at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore / Has been a lobbyist for forty years / Clients include Exxon Mobil, the Texas Film Industry Group, GE Capital Corporation, and the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas • I started lobbying…

Sheila Jackson Lee

Jan 1, 2009 By Evan Smith

“When his political people run the numbers, they see a different Texas, an emerging Texas. One that includes some of our more-conservative elements—God bless them, I respect them—but younger Texans as well. A Texas that is looking for change.”

In With the New

Dec 1, 2008 By Evan Smith

Let me say a few words about the modern world, the last on the subject—or any subject—that I expect to be writing in this space in the foreseeable future. For nearly 36 years, the editor of Texas Monthly had one job. Our founding editor, Bill Broyles, presided over the publication…

Mark Seliger

Dec 1, 2008 By Evan Smith

“I always approach it as if I’m going to take the picture and, for whatever reason, that’s it. There won’t be another chance.”

The Good Seed

Oct 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

To those who insist all journalists are pinot-swilling, Bibb-lettuce-nibbling, four-hundred-thread-count-Egyptian-cotton-pillowcase-coveting elitists, I say: Meet Michael Hall. It’s not just that the soul-patched, ratty-flannel-shirt-wearing Army brat doesn’t present as Bill Buckley or Tom Wolfe. It’s that, in word and deed, he more than transcends the “man of the people” cliché. This…


Sep 30, 2008 By Evan Smith

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. In November 1991, not long after I’d announced to my bosses at a big magazine company in New York that I would soon be quitting to take a job with Texas Monthly, one of the company’s officers, a hulking man with a thick German…

Hakeem Olajuwon

Aug 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

“When I was playing in college and the pros, most of the articles called me a ‘future Hall of Famer.’ So you get that idea in your head. You feel secure and confident that you’ll be elected to the Hall of Fame, but it’s different when it actually happens.”

The Last Tycoon

Aug 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

If you had asked me a year ago—if you had asked me three months ago—I would have bet my house that Boone Pickens would not be on this month’s cover. Not that his previous time as our cover subject wasn’t memorable: Joe Nocera, then a Texas Monthly associate editor and…

A Patriot Act

Jul 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

As I type these words, it is July 4— a day filled with bunting, parades, hot dogs, and political candidates slyly impugning one another’s patriotism. It is also a day to contemplate what this country of ours owes us, and what we owe it. The former has been the subject…

Luci Baines Johnson

Jul 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

“‘LBJ’s war’ was not a war he had sought. It was a war he had inherited. It was a war he was trying desperately to get out of.”

Ricardo Sanchez

Jun 30, 2008 By Evan Smith

“Do I blame a single individual? Do I blame the nation for the mistakes we made that led us to Abu Ghraib and the abuses that occurred as a result of the actions we took? Do I blame the military or the Department of Defense for trying to contain this extremely embarrassing period in our history? I think when you look at it, what happened to me is that I got caught in a perfect storm.”

The War at Home

Jun 30, 2008 By Evan Smith

Of the many concerns I have about the Iraq war, one of the biggest is this: The media have done an inadequate job, abetted by the Bush administration’s no-images-of-flag-draped-coffins dictate, of covering the massive loss of life, limb, and livelihood these past five-plus years. This is true all over the…

It’s Pat

May 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

With all due respect to the assembled face-wipers on page 6, the brains, not to mention the gullet and the stomach, behind our latest list of the best barbecue joints in Texas is executive editor Pat Sharpe. Who else could it possibly be? For a generation or more, Pat’s led…

Herb Kelleher

May 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

“If a shoe factory closes in Seattle, you can’t move it to San Antonio and have it competing there within a couple of hours, but with airplanes you can. I’ve always said that I want us to strike with the speed and alacrity of a puma.”

Margaret Spellings

Apr 30, 2008 By Evan Smith

“If someone can show me a way that we’re going to attend to the needs of kids without finding out where they are, without diagnosing the problem, I’m all ears. But it’s not possible.”

Say Hey Willie

Apr 30, 2008 By Evan Smith

To the famously short list of things that are certain in life—death and taxes—you can confidently add another: Willie Nelson sells copies of Texas Monthly. The iconic singer, golfer, actor, bus rider, weed smoker, and all-around good guy has been on our cover more times than anyone else (seven, this…

The Audacity of Hope

Mar 31, 2008 By Evan Smith

I have a very clear memory of returning from a birthday trip with my wife to Paris, where we were blissfully unaware of the awful happenings back home. This was in late April 1998, when cell phones weren’t ubiquitous and BlackBerrys didn’t exist—even e-mail was in limited use—so my first…

Sen. Clinton on Texas Monthly Talks

Mar 1, 2008 By Evan Smith

Evan Smith: Senator Clinton, good morning. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Good morning. ES: Thank you very much for being here. HRC: I’m happy to be here. ES: Let me begin by asking you something about last night’s debate and the very eloquent and emotional comments you made at…

Editor’s Letter

Mar 1, 2008 By Evan Smith

I bet you’d like to know what’s going to happen on March 4, when Texas finally gets to have a say in the presidential race. Beats the heck out of me. Over the past twelve months, I’ve been asserting, with arrogant certainty, that the November combatants would be Clinton and…

Ha-ha! We’re 35!

Feb 1, 2008 By Evan Smith

Somewhere out there is a sourpuss (there’s always one) who’ll ask, after picking up this special issue, what the fuss is all about. And he’ll have a point, sort of. Thirty-five years? Lots of publications have been around that long or longer. Just last year, one of the most iconic…